Claire Burdett: freelance journalist focus
Claire Burdett is a freelance journalist writing on work/family balance, travel and food amongst many other topics. Her work has appeared in books, websites, monthly magazines, food and travel and business publications, family, women’s magazines and corporate magazines.
This week, FeaturesExec caught up with Claire to discuss her varied work which includes interests in culture, technology and history, how she’d spend £1,000 and ‘Lumpy loves Chocolate’.
About your journalism:
What do you write about?
My core focus is on the balance of work and family – so that’s work/life balance, setting up and running a small business and working at home or round the children, and family stuff such as health and wellbeing, pregnancy and parenting, dealing with stress, happiness, holistic health, relationships and finance.
However, I used to edit food magazines and so I also write about food a lot, especially feeding a family on a budget, food for free, cooking on a budget, etc. and I write lots of ingredient articles, such as chocolate, coffee, basil, tomatoes, including history and usage. I also used to write copy for the Sunday Times Wine Club, and I still write about drink in general – I have certificate in wine appreciation and have made country wine (from fruit and vegetables) for two decades.
My other big passions are travel, particularly city breaks and family adventures, trends and technology, culture and history. I like combining lots of areas to give articles of great depth and interest. I think there is nothing more frustrating than seeing a title and strapline about something you’d love to know more, and then finding you haven’t learnt a thing because it’s really shallow!
Where are we likely to see your work?
All over the place – and you may not even realise it’s mine! I’ve written lots and lots of web and marketing, advertising and brochure copy, and as for articles, well I stopped counting once I go past 3,000, which was many years ago. My articles appear in books, websites, such as funkyangel.co.uk, and monthly magazines, including niche magazines, such as food and travel and business publications, through family and women’s magazines to corporate magazines that might receive if you are on that company’s database, or see in hotel lobbies and on airlines. I have also edited nine magazines and numerous newsletters and websites, all of which required me to write content as well. I have also written three books of my own and edited countless others, mostly in the health and food spheres.
My most recent article was one on Food for Free for the WI annual, and the one before that was on Life-work balance for CEOs published in a book called 1,000 CEOs which will be published later this year by Dorling Kindersley. Many can be found on reproduced on Funkyangel.co.uk, or you contact me directly for pdfs.
What’s the most memorable work you’ve done?
I hardly know where to start, I’ve been so privileged to work on so many amazing projects! Editing ‘Conception Pregnancy and Birth’ with Dr Miriam Stoppard was obviously an incredible high when it topped The Times bestselling list, and ghost writing and editing Woman’s Body for her straight afterwards – which went on to many of the book club lists – was great fun, if very hard work! I loved working on Dorling Kinderlsey’s CDRom of the Museum of the Cat – incredible technology and such a wealth of information and images, and the multimedia I worked with for World Health Network was incredible. I particularly enjoyed writing the series on Italian Ingredients for Orbis, food is always a favourite subject! And I love writing travel articles perhaps the most – the Citybreaks series I did for Citylife were amongst my best I think, especially the pieces on Seville and Rome.
However, my most memorable of all has to have been ‘Lumpy Loves Chocolate’, the book I wrote for my eldest daughter about her favourite bear, Lumpy, to help her overcome her reading difficulties. I wrote it to suit her needs, with lots of repetition and rhyming to help her focus on the words, and it was typeset with changes in font and text direction, including circles, to get her eyes to stay on the page, and it wasn’t until afterwards I found out it had been written to dyslexic guidelines! Four years on she’s an avid reader and has just won a literary prize, so yes, Lumpy has to be my all time most memorable work.
What interview or feature would you love the chance to do?
I would love the chance to write a series of articles on affordable family adventures, such as driving round the Basque region in a van with the kids, the dog and a laptop, or going riding in Southern Spain and spending a weekend at the carnival in Seville.
I’ve just been commissioned to write a family travel article on going surfing in Newquay, which we’ll be doing in the summer, so maybe that’ll be the start of it!
About you and PRs:
Where do you source ideas for articles?
I’m a magpie. Everything I see or read gets assessed for future usage and filed away, and I’m a voracious learner – a couple of years ago I had to do a series on technology and trends for a magazine I was editing, called What’s the Future (WTF – and yes the owners were well aware of the connotations of that!), which was really interesting as I love being on the cutting edge of technology.
If we gave you £1000, how would you spend it?
Take the children away somewhere lovely and sunny for a (non-working!) holiday by the sea.
What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Love what you do and then it won’t ever feel like ‘proper’ work. I do and it doesn’t!
What books are on your bedside table, magazines in your bag, or blogs on your screen?
I’ve just finished The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris, which I loved. Magazine-wise I have the Lonely Planet magazine and Sunday Times Travel magazine, plus Olive on the go.
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